Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 Reading Recap

Looking back (photo by my brother's wife)
I often make a list of all the books I read or listened to the unabridged version during 2017 (read paper or electronic copies: 34, listened to: 8). This year I decided to try to categorize them, which isn’t a perfect science.  There are some books (such as Theroux, Kingdom of the Sea and Bunting, Love of Country) that I debated whether they should be nonfiction of memoir.  And then there’s Engels, Woman on Verge of Paradise, that probably goes in the memoir column, too, but it’s just too funny not to be under humor.  While I wrote a number of reviews (17), I realize that I didn’t write one for my favorite book Herr’s Dispatches. I listened to the unabridged audio version of Herr’s memories as a Vietnam War correspondent twice.  I should also go back and write a review for Herr’s book along with Engels’ ”Paradise.” It’s pretty clear that within certain categories I enjoy books of certain subcategories (historical fiction, nature and travel).  It is also easy to see that certain books (like memories and biographies) are more likely to be reviewed by me.  Books less likely to be reviewed include those I listened to and poetry.  There were a few books that I have read before.  As a kid, I read Treasure Island and Robinson Crusoe (and attempted Kidnapped). I had read Staael’s New Patterns in the Sky fourteen years ago, but reread it for April’s A-Z Challenge.  There were other books that I read significant portions of (such as Martin Luther’s Commentary on Galatians) but they didn’t make the list because I couldn’t say that I read them cover-to-cover.  Here’s my list:

Books read in 2017: 42  * indicates a review in Sagecoveredhills

Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
Robert Lewis Stevenson, Treasure Island
*Robert Harris, Pompeii
*Michael Morris & Dick Pirozzolo, Escape from Saigon
Robert Lewis Stevenson, Kidnapped
*Frederick Buechner, Son of Laughter
Paul Young, The Shack 
Alice Hoffman, The Dovekeepers
Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding

*David I. Kertzer, The Pope and Mussolini: The Secret history of Pius XI and the Rise of Fascism in Europe
Dava Sobel, Longitude 
*S.  C. Gwynne, Empire of the Summer Moon
Julius D. W. Staal, The New Patterns in the Sky: Myths and Legends of the Stars.
*Timothy B. Tyson, The Blood of Emmett Till 
*Rosalind K. Marshall, Columba’s Iona: A New History 
*David Whyte, The Heart Aroused: Poetry and the Preservation of the Soul in Corporate America  
Hall and Padgett, editors, Calvin and Culture: Exploring a World View
David McCullough, The Wright Brothers  
Diarmaid MacCulloch, The Reformation: A History 
Charles Duhigg, The Power of Habit 
Craig Barnes, Body & Soul: Reclaiming the Heidelberg Catechism
Valerie P and Michael P. Cohen, Tree Lines
Madeleine Bunting, Love of Country: A Journey through the Hebrides
*Paul Theroux, Kingdom by the Sea

Memoir and Biographies
*Doris Kearns Goodwin, Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir
*Raymond Baker, Campfires Along the Appalachian Trail
*Jane Dawson, John Knox 
*Archibald Rutledge, God’s Children 
*John Lane, Paddle to the Sea: Eleven Days on the River of the Carolinas
*Archibald Rutledge, Peace in the Heart
Michael Herr, Dispatches

Alexis Orgera, how like foreign objects: poems
Nicola Slee, Praying like a Woman 
Rosie Miles, Cuts
*Danielle Lejeune, Landlocked: Etymology of Whale-fish and Grace
Anya Krugovoy Silver, Second Bloom
Carl Sandburg, Honey and Salt

Tom Bodett, The End of the Road
Robyn Alana Engel, Woman on the Verge of Paradise

Carl Hiaasen, Razor Girl

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Landlocked review

I wrote this back in the early summer and never got around to posting it... There's some good poems here. The author has been a part of a writing group that I participate with in Savannah.

Danelle Lejeune, “Landlocked: Etymology of Whale-fish and Grace (Georgetown, KY: Finishing Line Press, 107) 65 pages

This is a delightful book of poems with wonderful images of bees, cooking, chores around the farm and home, children, secrets, broken relationships, and new horizons.  Lejeune, the child of Cajun parents, draws from her roots in Louisiana, across the Midwest including time on a hog farm in Iowa where her children were born, and on to the coastal plain of Georgia where she now lives.  Many of these poems are inspired by people: her parents, her children, and her ex-husband.  They capture the difficulty of leaving the past behind. In “What Brings Her Ghost Back,” she tells of the difficulty of exorcising her mother’s ghost which reappears by the way she kneads dough in a manner reminiscence of her mother and how her mother’s laughter is heard in her children. It is evident that Lejeune carefully chooses the stories and words that make it into her tightly woven poems.  “I smile and laugh and pretend words cannot break me,” she concludes the poem, “Monsters and Mouthfeel.” But that’s only a dream as Lejuene demonstrates. Words and memories carry the power to destroy. Yet, words also hold the power to build and the keys to grace.  

I recommend Landlocked: Etymology of Whale-fish and Grace.  The readers will delight in Lejeune’s use of language and metaphor.  This is a book one will want to pull off the shelf over and over again in order to revisit those poems.  Lejeune also works with the Ossabaw Writer’s Retreat.  

Friday, December 22, 2017

My Brown Nosed Dog

Mia in my office
This morning, just minutes after the recap on MSNBC of how late night comedy poked fun of Vice President Pence for his over-the-top praise of Trump in a cabinet meeting, Mia was making it obviously known that she was wanting to go with me to the office.

"That dog lives up to his brown nose," I was told.

"Yeah, I think I'll start calling her "Mike Pence."

"Please don't, that's humiliating.  Besides, we don't need a dog with gender issues." 


If I don't post again before Christmas, I hope you all have a very merry Christmas and that my Jewish friends had a very happy Hanukkah.  It has been a busy but productive fall and the first couple months of the new year will continue along in the same vein.  But it's all fun.  I have been reading a lot, however, but just haven't gotten around to writing reviews for a number of books (and I doubt I will write more than one or two).  

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Introduction Mia

At B&D Burgers
A dog friendly restuarant 
On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, we hit a few pet adoption fairs and ended up at the Humane Society where a shaggy pooch was sitting in a crate out by the front desk. Mia was the dog of the day.  She seemed mellow with a beautiful face.  The papers indicated they through she was a terrier/Irish wolfhound mix.  We weren’t so such. We looked around the other dogs available and then came back and asked a few questions. At the invitation of the director, we decided to take her out into the yard where she came alive.  She enjoyed playing.  It had only been five days since we said goodbye to Trisket and we didn’t know if we were up for another dog right yet, but realizing a sucker when she saw one, the manager suggested we take Mia home for a sleepover.

After some searching on the internet, we are pretty sure that she is mostly a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon. Not only does she look a lot like them, she also have many of their traits.  In the past week and a half, I’ve had her at my office, taken her to a dog friendly restaurant, and taken her fairly long walks.  She is a little overweight (the vet thought this might have come when she was neutered and wasn’t getting enough exercise, which is supposedly common with female dogs).  So she is on a diet.

Napping with Mia on Sunday afternoon

At Sunrise, on a walk
Someone had surrendered a great day (often dogs here are surrendered by those in the military who are deployed or sent to posts where they can’t take dogs). She has a wonderful demeanor.  Inside, she is mellow and outside she is frisky.  She fits in well and we feel blessed by her presence.  We've nicknamed her Mimi.  

Sunrise (on an early morning walk